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USA World Cup Draw 2014: Group, Schedule and Roster Predictions

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Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

Few World Cups have been more anticipated by the United States as a whole, as the country is eager to prove it can hang with the big boys in Brazil.

This is arguably the best USMNT we've seen. The team has ascended to No. 14 on the FIFA rankings after absolutely dominating in CONCACAF qualifying over the past year.

Led by mainstays such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley—and buoyed by the strong international play of striker Jozy Altidore—the United States will head to Brazil as confident as they've ever been.

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discussed the difficulty and excitement of USA's draw, courtesy of U.S. Soccer on YouTube:

Let's take a closer look at what stands between them and a date in the knockout rounds.

 

Group

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
Group
TeamFIFA Ranking
Germany2
Portugal5
Ghana24
United States14
http://www.fifa.com/worldranking/rankingtable/index.html#

 

Schedule

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
United States Group Fixtures
DateTimeOpponent
June 166 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. BSTGhana
June 223 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. BSTPortugal
June 26Noon ET, 5 p.m. BSTGermany

 

Roster Predictions

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Michael Bradley #4 of the United States rolls his left ankle during warmups prior to facing Costa Rica in the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at Estadio Nacional on September 6, 2013 in San Jose, Costa Rica.  (Photo by
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

Formation: 4-2-3-1

 

Starting 11

GK: Tim Howard

LB: DaMarcus Beasley

CB: Matt Besler

CB: Omar Gonzalez

RB: Brad Evans

DM: Jermaine Jones

DM: Michael Bradley

LM:  Fabian Johnson 

CAM: Clint Dempsey

RM: Landon Donovan

ST: Jozy Altidore

 

Projected Reserves

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 09:  Eddie Johnson, Josy Altidore, Graham Zusi and Tim Howard warm up during a training session for the US Men's National Soccer Team in advance of their game vs Jamaica at Sporting Park on October 9, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

 

GK: Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DF: Clarence Goodson, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo

MF: Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona, Graham ZusiKyle Beckerman

FW: Aron Johannsson, Eddie Johnson

 

Other Possibilities

GK: Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid

DF: Michael Parkhurst, Steve Cherundolo,  Michael Orozco, John Brooks, Tim Ream, Timmy Chandler, Carlos Bocanegra

MF: Sacha Kljestan, Stuart Holden, Jose Torres, Brek Shea, Brad Davis, Danny Williams

FW: Chris Wondolowski, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, Juan Agudelo

 

Roster Notes

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Fabian Johnson #23 of the United States Men's National Team in action against Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

 

Here's what we know for sure: Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, Beasley, Besler, Gonzalez and Howard all seem likely to start, though Guzan is a promising alternative at keeper. Evans, Jones, Fabian Johnson, Eddie Johnson, Goodson, Cameron and Zusi will all make this team, though a starting place isn't certain for any of them.

And after that, well, it all comes down to the individual preferences of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Fabian Johnson seems at his best operating on the left wing, and the combination of him, Donovan, Dempsey and Altidore in the attack—with Bradley feeding them from his deeper position—creates an entertaining and potent attacking force.

And Zusi has certainly played well enough for the USMNT to enter his name into that mix. 

After that, the roster offers far more questions than answers. The defense is by far the weakest part of this team, and there aren't many solutions available to improve in that regard. As well, it remains to be seen if Jones will start alongside Bradley or if Klinsmann will roll the dice on a player like Diskerud.

Of course, for all of his technical issues, Jones is a physical force in the middle of the pitch and provides cover for the box-to-box Bradley and the shaky USMNT defense. He may not have the prettiest game, but his work rate, leadership and physical play make him an asset nonetheless.   

 

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